How Was Kathie Lee Gifford Connected To the Kennedys?

Kathie Lee Gifford has been a Hollywood staple for decades. Running in the morning show circuit, Gifford has more than a few famous friends. In fact, the television personality is connected to some of the industry’s most prominent families, and her connections do not end with Hollywood. Did you know that Gifford is connected to the famous Kennedy clan?

Who is Kathie Lee Gifford? 

Gifford is a television personality, singer, and author. For decades she was the face of early morning talk shows. Now, at 67, Gifford is exploring new career opportunities. She has splashed into the movie scene and is working hard at promoting her new book, “It’s Never Too Late: Make the Next Act of Your Life the Best”.

Kathie Lee Gifford on 'Today'
Kathie Lee Gifford | Tyler Essary/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

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Gifford is best known for her 15-year stint on TV opposite Regis Philbin. She appeared on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee from 1985 until 2000. After leaving the morning show, Gifford took a hiatus from the public but returned in 2005 as a special correspondent on Inside Edition. In 2008, she joined the cast of Today and spent 10 years working alongside Hoda Kotb before leaving to pursue a career in movies.  

Kathie Lee Gifford’s marriage to Frank Gifford connected her to the Kennedy family

Gifford may be a public figure, but she has managed to keep some of her most important familial connections secret. For example, most fans were unaware that she is the godmother of both Kendall and Kylie Jenner. Most fans also didn’t realize Gifford is connected to the Kennedy family.

Robert Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy and ten of their eleven children in 1965
Robert Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy and their children | Bettmann/ Getty Images

So, how is she connected? Through marriage. When Gifford married Frank Gifford in 1986, he had already been married twice. He had three children with his first wife. By the time Gifford married her second husband, his daughter, Victoria Gifford, was already married to Michael Kennedy. The couple had three children before they separated in 1997. Kennedy died before they divorced. So, technically, Gifford was the stepmother-in-law of Kennedy.  

Kathie Lee Gifford spoke about the death of Michael Kennedy in her new book

Gifford spoke openly about her connection to the Kennedy family in her new book. In one poignant passage, she recalled arriving at the hospital the evening that Michael Kennedy suffered catastrophic injuries in a skiing accident. She told readers that she sat with Ethel Kennedy, who refused to move from her son’s bedside nor speak to anyone in the room. She went on to claim that a bible passage had helped Ethel finally let go.

Michael Kennedy and Victoria Gifford attend their engagement party
Michael Kennedy and Victoria Gifford | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

RELATED: Is The Kennedy Family Really Cursed?

Kennedy died less than two hours after hitting a tree while skiing with his family in Aspen in 1997. The accident, which occurred on New Year’s Eve, was just one tragedy in a long line of tragedies to befall the Kennedy family. During an interview on Today, Gifford revealed that her stepdaughter gave her permission to write about Kennedy’s untimely death.